7 Best Airlines For Flight Attendants (Analyzed & Ranked)

best airlines for flight attendants

Selecting an airline to work at as a flight attendant is an important choice. Once you are hired, switching airlines can be a hard thing to do because you will have to attend training and start off back at the bottom of the seniority list all over again!

Of course, this means you want to choose the best airlines to apply for, but which airlines are the best and how do they compare?

Well, look no further! We have put together a comprehensive ranking of the top US-based airlines to work for as a flight attendant and compared them to one another to find out how they stack up.

Flight Attendant Airline Table Overview

Company Our Rating Glassdoor Indeed Best Quality Worst Quality
Delta 4.6 4.3 4.2 Inclusivity Ununionized
United 4.4 4.0 4.0 Layovers Reserve
Southwest 4.33 4.1 4.3 Company culture Limited layovers
American 4.3 3.8 3.8 Benefits Company culture
Jet Blue 4.2 3.7 4.0 Layovers Pay
Alaska 4.1 3.9 3.8 Inclusivity Limited layovers
Frontier 4.0 3.3 3.3 Reserve Pay

What We’re Considering

To arrive at our ranking, we considered a number of factors including:

  • Company Culture
  • Layover options
  • Work-life balance
  • Reserve
  • Pay
  • Diversity & inclusion
  • Satisfaction with senior management
  • Benefits (health insurance, retirement, profit sharing, etc.)

Our information for these categories come from three main sources, flight attendants themselves, Indeed and Glassdoor.

A Note About Our Sources

Indeed provides two ranking scores for each company, a star rating (1-5), and a work well-being score (0-100%). Indeed’s star rating is based on employee reviews and the well-being score is determined by occupational wellness experts.

Like Indeed, Glassdoor rates each company on a scale from 1-5 stars based on employee reviews.

Our ratings will differ from Indeed and Glassdoor’s because we are taking a flight attendant-specific perspective, while these sites look at each company as a whole.

Okay with that clarified, let’s jump into the rankings!

1. Delta

🎖️ Our Rating: 4.6

Delta constantly ranks among the best airlines to work for because of the company’s emphasis on diversity and inclusion.

In fact, Delta has been ranked the “Best Employer for Diversity” a number of times. And this ranking is in comparison to all other US-based companies (not just in aviation).

We gave Delta a 4.6 because of its inclusivity, reserve system, and hourly pay.

Beyond the fact that Delta is a safe place to work for everyone, Delta’s reserve system is unique in the airline industry because no one ever serves straight reserve, or even a full month of reserve, making it one of the most equitable reserve systems for junior flight attendants. Meanwhile its hourly pay scale is also industry-leading!

Read more: Delta Airlines Flight Attendant Salary Complete Breakdown

The main weakness for Delta, from a flight attendant’s perspective, is the fact that it is not officially unionized. There is a campaign among Delta flight attendants to join the AFA, but as of the publication of this article, Delta flight attendants are not officially represented.

The lack of a union for Delta flight attendants has two very real consequences:

  1. Delta flight attendants earn less than their fellows at United and American because they lose out on more competitive profit-sharing benefits.
  2. They did not have representation when their uniforms turned out to be toxic, whereas American flight attendants did.

This resulted in lower ratings for benefits.

That said, Delta’s benefits in terms of retirement, non-rev travel, and health insurance, are still on par with the rest of the industry and their overall score places them at #1 on our ranking list!

Our Rating Broken Down:

  • Company Culture: 4.6
  • Layover options: 4.7
  • Work-life balance: 4.3
  • Reserve: 5.0
  • Pay: 4.6 ($35.02 per hour)
  • Diversity & inclusion: 5.0
  • Satisfaction with senior management: 4.6
  • Benefits: 4.0

Glassdoor Rating: 4.3
Indeed Rating: 4.2
Indeed Wellbeing Score: 82

2. United

🎖️ Our Rating: 4.4

United Airlines is the perfect airline to work for if you want to be paid well to travel the world. They offer the largest number of layover opportunities and the highest pay in the industry!

We gave United a 4.4 because they are an exciting company to work for, they pay well, and they keep pace with other airlines in terms of work environment and benefits.

United is a good place to work as a flight attendant, but unlike Southwest and Delta, they aren’t well known for a stellar work environment. (At least it isn’t United’s defining characteristic).

United’s main weakness however is its reserve system because it employs a straight reserve system that keeps junior flight attendants stuck on reserve until they are finally senior enough to hold a line. That said, it seems to work well enough.

Our Rating Broken Down:

  • Company Culture: 4.0
  • Layover options: 5.0
  • Work-life balance: 4.0
  • Reserve: 3.9
  • Pay: 4.7 ($35.06 per hour)
  • Diversity & inclusion: 4.8
  • Satisfaction with senior management: 4.0
  • Benefits: 4.7

Glassdoor Rating: 4.0
Indeed Rating: 4.0
Indeed Wellbeing Score: 78

3. Southwest

🎖️ Our Rating: 4.33

Southwest has a really good and well-known reputation in the airline industry for being a fun place to work. Flight attendants at Southwest are able to be a little more relaxed and creative when it comes to passenger interactions because the airline is marketed towards family travel, instead of business travel.

We gave Southwest a 4.33 because of its company culture, the work-life balance options, and the benefits.

In addition to having a fantastic work environment, Southwest offers more flexibility and therefore a better work-life balance than other airlines.

Southwest flight attendants can, for example, drop down to a 0-hour schedule, which is unique in the industry. They also consistently receive the best crew discounts at hotel restaurants and airports compared to any other airline!

The main weakness for Southwest is just their layover options, compared to larger international airlines, Southwest has a smaller route network, but I’m confident Southwest flight attendants are still satisfied with the layovers available!

Our Rating Broken Down:

  • Company Culture: 4.7
  • Layover options: 4.0
  • Work-life balance: 4.7
  • Reserve: 4.3
  • Pay: 4.3 ($31.23 per hour)
  • Diversity & inclusion: 4.1
  • Satisfaction with senior management: 4.0
  • Benefits: 4.6

Glassdoor Rating: 4.1
Indeed Rating: 4.3
Indeed Wellbeing Score: 78

4. American Airlines

🎖️ Our Rating: 4.3

If it were up to me, I’d put American Airlines at the top of this ranking, but I’m biased because I loved working there but American’s reputation as a place to work as a flight attendant is good, but nothing to write home about.

We gave American Airlines a 4.3 because it is a perfectly fine place to work as a flight attendant.

American offers slightly better pay, benefits, and layover opportunities than some of the other airlines on this list, which is why it got ranked a little higher.

Job security at American is great because it is unionized, and the airline is financially stable (for an airline).

American’s weakness is its company culture. Right now there is a lot of tension within the flight attendant work group because the US Airways merger left a large portion of the workforce feeling like they lost out in contract negotiations and because no one is happy with the current reserve. Because of this, satisfaction with senior management is also taking a hit.

Our Rating Broken Down:

  • Company Culture: 3.8
  • Layover options: 4.8
  • Work-life balance: 4.0
  • Reserve: 4.0
  • Pay: 4.5 ($33.86 per hour)
  • Diversity & inclusion: 4.7
  • Satisfaction with senior management: 3.9
  • Benefits: 4.7

Glassdoor Rating: 3.8
Indeed Rating: 3.9
Indeed Wellbeing Score: 76

5. Jet Blue

🎖️ Our Rating: 4.2

Jet Blue is a great airline to work for if you don’t want to work for a legacy airline, but do want a wider variety of layover options.

Offering a slightly more relaxed working environment than American, Delta, and United, Jet Blue has the trappings of an international airline with a little more fun.

We gave Jet Blue a 4.2 because it surpassed our expectations in terms of diversity and inclusion and layover options.

Jet Blue is a safe choice to work for as a flight attendant because it offers exactly what airlines need to in order to allow flight attendants to build happy, long careers, but it doesn’t offer the fills some of the other airlines do.

Jet Blue’s biggest weakness is its pay scale. It just simply isn’t as competitive as the legacy airlines.

Our Rating Broken Down:

  • Company Culture: 4.0
  • Layover options: 4.5
  • Work-life balance: 4.0
  • Reserve: 3.9
  • Pay: 4.2 ($28.85 per hour)
  • Diversity & inclusion: 4.6
  • Satisfaction with senior management: 3.8
  • Benefits: 4.5

Glassdoor Rating: 3.7
Indeed Rating: 4.0
Indeed Wellbeing Score: 74

6. Alaska Airlines

🎖️ Our Rating: 4.1

Alaska Airlines is a solid airline to work for, flight attendants are happy with the work environment, and reap the same high-quality benefits enjoyed by the top airlines in the industry.

We gave Alaska Airlines a 4.1 because it is a good airline to work for and it has a slightly better commitment to diversity and inclusion than other airlines, but nothing in particular sets it apart.

Its company culture, work-life balance, and reserve system are pretty standard compared to other airlines in the industry.

Like Southwest, the main weakness for Alaska Airlines is its limited layover opportunities, operating primarily in the Pacific, Alaska Airlines does not offer many international destinations.

Our Rating Broken Down:

  • Company Culture: 4.0
  • Layover options: 4.0
  • Work-life balance: 4.0
  • Reserve: 4.0
  • Pay: 4.4 ($31.73 per hour)
  • Diversity & inclusion: 4.6
  • Satisfaction with senior management: 3.5
  • Benefits: 4.5

Glassdoor Rating: 3.9
Indeed Rating: 3.8
Indeed Wellbeing Score: 74

7. Frontier

🎖️ Our Rating: 4.0

Frontier surprised me, for a budget carrier it offers a pretty attractive place to work as a flight attendant and I know many Frontier flight attendants who are satisfied with their choice to work for the airline.

We gave Frontier a 4.0 because it keeps up with many of the other airlines here, it isn’t the best at anything though.

Frontier may not lead the industry, but it isn’t falling far behind either and a flight attendant who chose to work here can expect a slightly better work-life balance over the course of their career because they get off reserve quickly.

Frontier’s weakness is that it is good, but just not quite good enough. Satisfaction with senior management is low, and a lot of flight attendants leave Frontier to re-start at a larger, better-paying airline.

But if you want a predictable career, Frontier might just be the best option for you yet.

Read more: Frontier Airlines Flight Attendant Salary Complete Breakdown

Our Rating Broken Down:

  • Company Culture: 4.2
  • Layover options: 4.0
  • Work-life balance: 4.2
  • Reserve: 4.3
  • Pay: 4.1 ($26.18 per hour)
  • Diversity & inclusion: 4.0
  • Satisfaction with senior management: 3.5
  • Benefits: 3.9

Glassdoor Rating: 3.3
Indeed Rating: 3.3
Indeed Wellbeing Score: 70

Final Thoughts

Here’s the thing. It’s a safe bet that you can have a wonderful and fulfilling career as a flight attendant working at any of the airlines we ranked above.

Delta might be the highest-ranked airline on this list, (and others), but that doesn’t mean it will be the perfect airline for you.

And that is what matters most! So, work for whichever one will make you love your job the most. Whether that is Delta or Frontier.

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  1. Great informations. It helps you figure out, what will be the best company to work for and, build your career. Making the best decision that, will work out for you, personally!
    Thank you!

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